The Northeastern Pennsylvania Genealogical Society recently moved its library to Annex Two of the Kirby Health Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre. What a delight to return to this regional treasure, now housed in a second floor suite of rooms filled with bright ambient light and tended by a dedicated corps of family history sleuths.
Today I used one of the computers to access the society’s digital records, which include all the sacramental records within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton, which fortunately includes my husband’s Hazleton family.
In matrimonium corjunxi sunt Martinum Corrigan et Mariam Walker. Coram Hujonem Sheridan et Margaretam Corrigan.
Michael L Scanlon March 30, 1861
On page 0049 of the marriage record is the above script, which brings to mind the middle-schooler quip, “Latin is a dead language, as dead as it can be. Latin killed the Romans, and now its killing me.”
Latin was the performative language of the Roman Catholic churches of northeastern Pennsylvania (and throughout the US) until well into the 20th century, when it was gradually displaced by English. So all those sacramental records that I wish to record and decode will require me to dust off my Latin and/or refer to the cheat sheets provided by the NEPAGS.
THIS record confirms the Corrigan’s oral tradition.
Martin Corrigan and Mary Walker were joined in matrimony in the presence of Hugh Sheridan and Margaret Corrigan, on March 30, 1861–which happened to be Easter that year–by Father Michael L. Scanlon.
At the time of the ceremony Father Scanlon was priest of St. Mary’s parish at Beaver Meadows, the mother of the coal region’s parishes, and in charge of the construction of St. Gabriel’s Church in the nearby town of Hazleton. And this fact corroborates the lore that Martin and Mary were married at St. Mary’s Church.
The church records don’t record that all participants walked to and from the ceremony from coal towns like Ebervale and Hazleton, a 12 mile round trip.
Did the newlyweds have a reception upon their return or perhaps an Easter feast at a family member’s home?
Now I want to go back to my family history pals and ask them about 19th wedding traditions!!